Break Time

Gimme a break.

I don’t know if Kit Kat still uses that jingle as I haven’t watched tv in a long time. Must have been a good jingle though – I remember it.

People asking for a break is pretty tame stuff. We see it in movies, the office, a thousand vignettes a day on the streets making up our cities as people jostle, jog, cycle, run, Uber, taxi, tube and rock and roll their way through another day. Gimme a break! Whaddya want!

I love city life.

You know the irony of so many people plaintively looking for a little relief all the livelong day? The break we need the most, and the one we get the least, is the one we give ourselves.

Like you perhaps I’m pretty competitive and very ambitious. I work hard, play hard, sleep hard. I like my life on the edges. My old friend Carroll Herring used to say if you ain’t livin’ on the edge you’re takin’ up too much room. You go old dog. And yet sometimes that self-driven multi-focus to do everything hard and fast and all the time leads us to start making compromises along the way.take-a-break-rest-your-leadership-muscle-gxaf9j-clipart

We shortchange our education to get on the treadmill, truncate our vacations to not miss too much work, max our credit cards to live the good life and have little reserves left when a true emergency rises. We double-book meetings, triple-book phone calls, IMs and chats and wonder why we can’t ever get anything done as we speed from interruption to interruption in seconds a day.

We miss our kids birthdays, forget our spouse’s favorite song and don’t notice when we start coming home to a darkened house the lights having turned off long before we arrive. We call in sick, but work at home regardless willing our way through another wheezing day so we will feel good when… When what?

Life is a short-term gig – careers are even shorter. The things that matter are very few besides the people you’ll love and care about in your life and the difference each of us get to make in this world. Most of the rest is temporal. You will forget about it. You should.

So as we sink a little deeper into yet another year I am authorizing break time for you. I want you to give yourself a break, to stop being so unrealistic about doing all the things so perfectly so concurrently you’ve been trying to do. To stop the madness and step off the chain gang. Good work is important. So are well-balanced families, happy human beings and healthy bodies. We do not live in a vacuum.

So give yourself a break. You are not perfect. You do not have to be. You get to be tired. You get to take a day off. To leave work early every now and then. To see your kids at a school play. To spend Friday night with you mates and friends every now and then. To say no to the lunacy of perpetual always-on and 24/7 availability.

Live your life, love your friends and be a part of your community and most of all, your family.

Give yourself a break. You deserve it.



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